What age should kids get a phone?
When to give your child their first cell phone is an important (and sometimes difficult) decision.
This decision is not just about age. It’s about your child’s developmental maturity and your family’s values. It’s also about the steps you can take to help your child develop a healthy relationship with technology, including responsible use of their first phone.
AT&T has collaborated with experts from the American Academy of Pediatrics to develop the PhoneReady Questionnaire to help parents determine if both they and their child are ready for a cell phone. These 10 evidence-based questions will help assess a child’s behaviors and developmental maturity. You can access this free questionnaire by visiting PhoneReadyQuiz.com.
How do I choose a phone for kids?
Once you’ve decided that you’re comfortable getting your child their first phone, the next question might be which phone to choose. I recommend you start by thinking about how you would like your child to use their phone. For example, if you only want them to be able to call you during emergencies, you don’t need to invest in one of the latest smartphones. In fact, you might even actively avoid something with all the bells and whistles.
On the other hand, if you think your child is ready to use a smartphone or another type of connected device, think about some of the same specs and benefits you look for in your own smartphone. That means things like the size, camera, battery life, durability, display, etc.
Parents can visit AT&T Kids Phone & Family Plan to access recommendations on products and services based on what’s important to their family.
Whichever you decide, you’ll want to take steps to help your child have a safe and positive experience with their first phone. Here are a few tips to get started:
- Set parental controls. To find parental control guides for devices and common apps, visit AT&T ScreenReady.
- Create a Family Media Plan to set goals and establish rules about technology use that align with your family’s values. Make your plan at healthychildren.org.
- If your child is old enough to drive, have a strict “no phone use while driving” policy. As a family, take the pledge to drive distraction free. The pledge can be found at itcanwait.com.
- Talk frequently with your child about what they see and experience online. For tips and information on how to handle ongoing conversations with your child to help keep them safe and healthy, online and off, visit AT&T ScreenReady and healthychildren.org.
You may also want to consider how your child will care and protect their phone or device. After all, children are children, so there’s a decent chance the device could end up damaged. It can be smart to invest in a high-quality phone case and choose a phone that is more durable than delicate.
Does AT&T offer any other parental controls tools for parents?
Yes, if you do decide that your child is ready for a smartphone, AT&T provides customers with the option of subscribing to the AT&T Secure Family AppTM (data rates may apply for download and usage). The app offers the first 30 days free for those who sign up for the $7.99/month service auto-billed to your AT&T account (cancel anytime during the first 30 days). This app provides lots of helpful safety and parental controls features, including the ability to do all of the following:
- Track locations
Keep tabs on your children whenever you want or at a specific time, for example, every day after school. You can also get alerts when they enter or leave a location, like school or a friend’s house. Plus, see where your child has been over the past 7 days.
- Limit screen time
Control when your child can use the internet. Create a personalized access schedule or completely block your child’s Wi-Fi or internet access.
- Filter web and app use
Filter inappropriate apps and websites by age or customize your own settings.
Good luck and stay safe
Hopefully you found this article and the free PhoneReady Questionnaire helpful. As usual, making these types of choices for kids isn’t always easy. No matter what you decide, I hope that you and your family have fun with your devices and stay safe. To learn more about these types of issues, you might want to check out the AT&T ScreenReady website.
This article is AT&T sponsored content written by Matt Johnsen, a TechBuzz contributor and AT&T employee. The statements in this article are his own and don’t necessarily represent the positions, strategies, or opinions of AT&T.